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El umbral (Threshold), from “Photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo”

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Artwork Details

El umbral (Threshold), from “Photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo”
1947; printed 1977
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
gelatin silver print on paper
10 in. x 7 11/16 in. ( 25.4 cm x 19.6 cm )
Gift of Frederick J. Myerson


Manuel Álvarez Bravo was one of the most influential Latin American photographers of the twentieth century, with a career spanning over seven decades. His complex images represent the diverse people and places of Mexico through avant-garde visual techniques such as distorted reflections and dramatic lighting. Here he turns his camera onto the rippling skirt and legs of a woman standing in the threshold of a doorway, curling her toes away from the liquid spreading across the floor. The tilting perspective creates a sense of tension despite the everyday nature of the scene. While Álvarez Bravo's work has often been compared to that of European Surrealist photographers, who also had a fondness for uncanny juxtapositions of elements from daily life, his differs in that it weaves together the visual modes of modern photography, Mexican culture, and art history, fusing past and present. 

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